Why Should We Use Food Grade Lubricants?

Food Grade Lubricants

Food-grade lubricants have a vital role to play in the food processing industry. Furthermore, suitable food-grade lubricant must be used in food processing factories because a mistake can drastically affect productivity, incur unnecessary costs, or even cause a recall due to contamination.

How Can Manufacturers Safeguard Themselves?

Food-grade lubricants are used to shield and maintain food processing equipment from deterioration. In 2022, the global food-grade lubricants market was valued at USD 352 million, which is anticipated to reach USD 600 million by 2030. That means it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.0% from 2022 to 2030. Thus, the increasing concern over food safety is expected to affect market growth positively.

Food-grade lubricants based on application are divided into four broad categories: Food, Beverages, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics. Food application is the most significant market segment, accounting for the largest revenue share of 62.2% in 2020. Based on the base oil, white mineral oil is the most significant type of food-grade lubricant, closely followed by synthetic oil.

The urge to produce new products and deeper concerns over food safety and its stringent regulations shape the food processing industry. The demand for customised and high-performance food-grade lubricants is anticipated to rise soon.

What are Food Grade Lubricants?

Food-grade lubricants protect a machine from wear, rust, oxidation and friction. Furthermore, they help to dispel heat, transfer power, and resist degradation. They must also exhibit continued performance when contacting water and processing chemicals and food products. Nonetheless, lubricant leakage is entirely unavoidable, so the food-grade variety is non-toxic so that it’s safe when a small amount does come into contact with food in any way.

Food grade lubrications adhere to NSF, USDA, CFIA and FDA guidelines to ensure they cause no harm when they accidentally contact food or those working in the factory. Food-grade lubrication most frequently used falls under the H1 category. These lubricants are safe for use in areas where food contact is possible.

  • The three most commonly used H1 food-grade lubrication are hydraulic oils, gear oils, and rust and oxidation oils.
  • H2 lubricants are used in areas where machines would not have any contact with food.
  • Finally, there are H3 lubricants (edible oils) used for hard coating your loved chocolate candy and jelly beans. They add shine and avoid stickiness.

What Ingredients Are Used To Make Food-Grade Lubricants?

H1 lubricants are either synthetic-based or petroleum. Petroleum-based food-grade lubrication is made from highly refined, tasteless, colourless, non-staining, and odourless mineral oils. They are made from white mineral oils – either USP-type or technical white mineral oils.

On the other hand, synthetic-based food-grade lubricants are made from polyalphaolefins (PAO), which have better oxidation firmness and a more extensive range of operating temperatures, or polyalkylene glycols (PAG), which are typically used in an environment having high temperatures. Sometimes, silicones are used to make H1 lubricants, but they must have a viscosity of 200 cSt (centistokes, the measurement used to measure viscosity) or more. H1 lubricants made using silicone have the highest thermal and oxidation stability. H1 lubricants must not possess carcinogens, teratogens, mutagens or heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and arsenic.